Versatile Processes

Deep collaboration is about working together on a product or a service to co-create value for the customer. A deeper collaboration is the ability to work with other businesses in the ecosystem as if enterprise boundaries did not exist. This deeper collaboration is happening, but it is typically expensive and time-consuming to provision. Constraints on security, access, and institutional controls must be properly managed without creating new risks.

All this can happen absent the cloud. Adding cloud to the mix introduces self-service, rapid scaling, and automation to what have heretofore been extensive, tedious negotiations; major adjustments to IT; and labor-intensive change management processes.

Cloud-resident services represent the opportunity to lower the cost and time of provisioning deeply collaborative value creation that goes beyond simple data exchange to integrated workflows and processes.

Some characteristics of the versatile processes are:

    • Modularity—Modularity means breaking up internal capabilities or processes into modular service components that have standardized and open interfaces for integration with other business platforms. Any organization that has begun to use the principles of service-oriented architecture (SOA) for business processes (not just for IT) will be familiar with this idea.
      Example: Ericsson Nikola Tesla eOrders Approval Workflow Step
               Web Service Call: InvoiceToApproval(…)
                         getCCforOrderOwnerID(OrderOwnerID) get users cost center
                         invoiceToApproval(…) sending order in the Approval Tool application
    • Provisioning in the cloud—This means moving a process, which was largely internal or local, to a cloud-computing platform where it can be shared and integrated with other cloud-resident processes. In effect, it means making the extensible part of your enterprise part of the public cloud.
    • Example: Integration with FileNet BPM
      The document’s content data can be external to an object store and,  therefore,  outside the control of the Content Engine server. External File option allows you to specify a URL path to a file that resides outside your Workplace environment.
      After document creation, it can be a part of any company’s standard business process and in the same time the public cloud allows broader end-to-end integration without artificial barriers of enterprise boundaries.

    • Instantaneous process scaling—The goal is to bring cloud characteristics associated with IT—multitenancy, scalability, elasticity, and on-demand provisioning— to business functions.
    • Example:
      The company LiveOps has built these characteristics into customer support processes. The LiveOps On-Demand Contact Center Platform enables enterprises to deploy, on demand, an instantly scalable contact center solution using a pay-per-use model.
      Zuora has done the same with billing by allowing the rapid scaling of billing operations via its Z-Billing product.

Versatile processes and ecosystem integration depend on and leverage fungible resources, business activities, and processes.

Fungibility is the characteristic of being substitutable—different instances of something can be treated as if they are identical. The result is that a fungible resource can be used for multiple purposes. For instance, cash is the most fungible resource; it is substitutable and it can be used for purchasing a wide range of products or services. A defining characteristic of cloud computing in the data center is that it makes IT resources fungible—applications are immune to the technical differences that heretofore defined different servers or storage devices. Virtualization software makes fungible the processing and storage required by applications. Fungible is not the same as standardization, which forces sameness on everything; fungible means that something can be treated as if it is identical to something else, even when it is not.
Example:
Central Desktop SaaS application and Microsoft Office Live are both integrated with FileNet ECM as an External File – only difference is in the URL address. We can mix, add or substitute those SaaS applications.

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